Old Hrodna Castle

Hrodna, Belarus

The Old Hrodna Castle (also known as the Hrodna Upper Castle and Bathory's Castle) dates from the 11th century as the seat of a dynasty of Black Ruthenian rulers, descended from a younger son of Yaroslav the Wise of Kiev. The 13th-century keep of the castle belonged to a type of Belarusian defensive tower represented by the Tower of Kamyanyets. Vytautas the Great added five Brick Gothic towers in 1391-98, transforming the castle into one of his main residences. Casimir IV Jagiellon also favoured Hrodna over Lithuania's official capital. It was there that the Polish Crown was offered to him, and it was there that he died in 1495.

The next notable tenant of the castle was Stephen Báthory who envisaged Hrodna as the capital of his vast empire in Eastern Europe. He engaged Scotto of Parma to replace the Vytautas Castle with his own residence in the advanced Renaissance taste of Northern Italy. After Bathory's death in Hrodna in 1586, his pet project was abandoned. The citadel was devastated by the Russians during a Russo-Polish War in 1655.

The castle's revival was owing to Krzysztof Zygmunt Pac who raised sufficient funds to finance the refurbishing of the royal residence. The restored castle was selected by King Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki of Poland as the location for every third Sejm of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The castle suffered extensive damage during the Great Northern War, forcing the royal court to move into the New Hrodna Castle.

After the partitions of Poland the castle was given over to the Russian army and housed a barracks. The authorities of interwar Poland restored the chamber of the ambassadors and the Sejm Hall. In 1925, the former royal palace opened on historical and archaeological museum. At present the castle is located the main exhibition of Grodno Museum of History and Archeology.

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Founded: 11th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Belarus

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Maksim Zmitrovich (15 months ago)
Beautifully restored. Picturesque place. Fantastic pictures for Instagram. )))
Fridolen Djiegue (2 years ago)
It is a beautiful muséum
Tosin Kolawole (2 years ago)
Beautiful and very historic
Phillip Wingfield (2 years ago)
The Old Castle in Grodno or Hrodno as it is known locally looks very interesting and has a great view over the river. Unfortunately the castle was closed when we visited and it looks like there is some building work going on so perhaps it is being refurbished. I would like to go back and visit sometime and have a proper look around. The Old Castle is next door to the New Castle which looks more like a stately home or similar then a castle.
Toomas Schvak (2 years ago)
It would be a very interesting place to visit but as it continues to be under renovation at this time, the impressions are not the best. So, please keep in mind the two stars reflect only the current experience not the potential of the castle.
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